in this issue


News & Events

Awards Day Recap

Eclectic Now Accepting Submissions

Poetry Gala Review

Univ. Writing Center Adds Staff, Begins Assessment

Snyder Retirement Party

2007 Undergrad Conference Presenters

Voice Your Concerns

Toto Pulls Curtain on David Newton

Thinking of Pursuing a Graduate Degree?

People News

Studying Abroad: Nick McRae Czechs In

Kimily Willingham Leaves Legacy Behind

Student Presents Paper to Board of Regents

Lisa Crafton Named Outstanding Teacher

Masters Takes Helm of Grad Program

New Professor in English Education

In Every Issue

Job Spotlight on Christina Hogan

New Faculty and Staff


Course Descriptions

Spring 2008



Kimily Willingham Leaves 19-year Legacy Behind

When Dr. Jane Hill became department chair in 2003, she half-jokingly instituted a policy that Kimily Willingham could not die. “She had so much institutional knowledge in her head that we couldn’t afford to lose,” Hill said. “I thought, ‘Where would we be without her?’” She failed, however, to specify that Willingham, administrative assistant for 19 years, could not change jobs. Earlier this year, Willingham accepted a position as assistant to the dean in the College of Arts and Sciences — one floor up from English and Philosophy.

In her new job, she oversees 33 accounts totaling $17 million and ensures that all personnel paperwork for the college is processed correctly. And, of course, she serves as the go-to person for the college, just as she did for the English Department. Her goals include creating a database of important resources for administrative staff and simplifying the budget process for departments. “I’m very fortunate to work for Dr. Rice,” she said. “He’s open to all ideas, recommendations and solutions.”

Secretary, budget and personnel coordinator, publications specialist, go-to person and even interior decorator, Willingham joined the English Department in May 1988 as senior secretary, outlasting nearly all tenured faculty and serving under four different chairs. In fact, only Drs. Micheal Crafton, Lisa Crafton and Randy Hendricks can boast more years of service to the department. With her impressive job knowledge and desire to learn, she quickly took over budget, personnel and publications, showing the initiative to seek training on her own time.

One of her biggest accomplishments, according to Hill, was “totally transforming” the Shakespeare Bulletin, which started out like a newspaper and ended up “looking like a million bucks” in just three years. “Kimily established that we could produce this publication in-house very professionally,” Hill said. “As a result, the revitalized publication positively impacted our ability to recruit faculty.” The makeover also caught the attention of well-established journal Shakespeare Quarterly, which, threatened by the Bulletin, sought to combine the two publications.

In addition to the Shakespeare Bulletin, Willingham oversaw the layout, design and production of Eclectic (a student publication), Christianity and Literature and JAISA ( The Journal of the Association for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Arts). “I feel fortunate to have been able to work with such great people,”


Willingham said. “I particularly enjoyed working with the students on the Eclectic, and I definitely miss working on the publications.”

Job skills and work ethic aside, Willingham inarguably made her biggest impression on the department’s morale — and decor. “The way the department feels and looks is all Kimily,” Hill said. “She made every person feel wanted and comfortable. She created an atmosphere that was and is really important.” Hill noted that when Josh Masters and Margaret Mitchell moved to Carrollton and ran into a hitch in the home-buying process, Willingham invited them to live with her. And she meant it. “She is the kindest person in the world,” Hill said. “She drove five hours to my father’s funeral, and I will never forget that.”

With such a legacy, it’s hard to believe this is the same person who got caught skipping school at 16. According to Willingham, her dad told her to get her “ducks in a row,” and then added, “Honey, I don’t think you have any ducks.” But now, as a result of a unanimous — albeit unofficial — vote, Willingham will go down in history as one of the five smartest people in the English Department. “No one ever argued that Kimily deserved a spot,” Hill said. “Instead, they continue to argue over who the other four are. Everyone knows they have to compete with Kimily.”

--Christina Hogan

Student Makes Department Proud with Presentation to Regents

English major Lauren Lovvorn wasn’t sure where her senior seminar paper on “The Phantom of the Opera” was going. Turns out it was headed to two conferences and a Board of Regents presentation.

On Monday, Oct. 8, Lovvorn, as the sole Humanities representative, shared her research, along with just two other students, to Regents touring the campus. “It was a really huge honor,” she said.

Lovvorn previously presented her research at the UWG English Undergraduate Conference and Big Night, which showcases the best research projects on campus. “I am extremely proud of Lauren’s invitation to reprise her Big Night performance for the Board of Regents,” said her advisor, Dr. Lisa Crafton. “Watching her give this presentation in three different forums, I was each time impressed with her intellect, poise and hard work.”


Lovvorn’s research project applied trickster and Lacanian theory to the novel and two film versions. She began by analyzing how the novel presents the phantom as a trickster figure, existing in liminal spaces, and then argued how two competing film versions reinterpreted the trickster phantom for their own contemporary moment. “It was intensely researched, critically rigorous in its analysis of literature, film and theory, and strikingly original,” Crafton said. “Mentoring students like Lauren, seeing their ideas come to such successful conclusion, is, without a doubt, the best part of my job.”

Lovvorn, who plans to enter the graduate program in January and eventually teach on the college level, credits Crafton with her success. “She is amazing,” Lovvorn said. “I had her for every class I could. She gives her students the freedom to express themselves. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, she lets you go anyway.”

--Christina Hogan